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Typhoon-triggered landslides kill 6 in Philippines

August 27th, 2011 9:37 am by Staff Report

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A slow-moving typhoon made landfall in the Philippines on Saturday, drenching most of the north and triggering landslides that killed five children and a man digging for gold, officials said.

Typhoon Nanmadol buried a hillside house before dawn, killing a 6-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother in Pangasinan province's San Fabian township, civil defense officials said.

The young siblings were buried in the mud and other debris for more than two hours before rescuers recovered their bodies, said Milchito Santos, regional civil defense chief for the northwestern region of the main Philippine island of Luzon.

In the northern mountain resort city of Baguio, a garbage dump's concrete wall collapsed, burying three shanties under tons of garbage and killing three siblings aged 10 to 15 who were swept about 300 yards (meters) downhill, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said.

Residents near the dump site told rescuers that several others were still buried hours later, including the children's grandmother, Domogan said.

Domogan said a man who was digging for gold in the outskirts of the city was killed by mud and rocks that cascaded from a hillside.

At least four other people were confirmed missing, including a fisherman from Catanduanes province, about 220 miles (350 kilometers) east of the capital, Manila, who failed to return home Thursday during stormy weather related to the typhoon, and another fisherman from La Union province, north of Manila.

Two men were swept away Saturday by strong river currents in Ilocos Sur province north of La Union, officials said.

Meteorologists said Nanmadol hit land near Cagayan province's Gonzaga township on the northeastern tip of Luzon around 6 a.m. Saturday (2200 GMT Friday). Its maximum winds had weakened 12 hours later to 103 mph (166 kph) with gusts of up to 124 mph (200 kph).

About 200 people who evacuated a coastal village in Gonzaga because storm surges flooded their community were advised later Saturday it was safe to return home after the storm eased, said Norma Talosig, the region's civil defense director.

The typhoon was moving north, toward southern Taiwan, at just 4 mph (7 kph).

In Taiwan, officials warned ships passing through the Bashi Channel south of the island to stay alert.

The U.S. Embassy said the visit to Manila by the U.S. Navy's John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, originally scheduled for this weekend, had been postponed because of the bad weather.

It said all tours of the aircraft carrier, as well as the reception on board, had been canceled.

Domestic airlines also canceled more than a dozen flights to areas affected by the typhoon in the northern and central Philippines.

Forecasters said the typhoon's cloud band was 370 miles (600 kilometers) in diameter, and that rains would continue to drench most of northern Luzon Island and generate gale-force winds that would result in rough seas in the northern and central Philippines over the weekend.

Rivers in Cagayan and nearby Isabela province have swelled and the waters have flowed over at least six bridges, halting or slowing traffic in several towns, Talosig said.

Civil Defense Administrator Benito Ramos reported scattered landslides in the mountainous Cordillera region and power outages in Cagayan province and nearby Isabela province.

He warned of more landslides and flash floods in the Cagayan Valley region because the Cordillera mountains to the west and the Sierra Madre to the east were already saturated with rainwater.

Workers were clearing landslides that blocked roads in Cordillera, including the picturesque zigzag to Baguio, officials said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said Nanmadol may not make landfall there but was expected to move north along the island's eastern coast Monday and Tuesday. It said the typhoon would bring torrential rains and heavy winds to Taiwan.

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